Declan Jones put in some sensational overtaking manoeuvres and secured his best finish yet in the Ginetta Junior Championship during rounds thirteen and fourteen at Knockhill last weekend.
Declan, who has graduated to the Ginetta Junior Championship for 14-17 year-olds this season and who was recently accepted onto the MSA Academy AASE (Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence) programme, once again had to learn another new circuit, but he put that to one side and overcame a sizable off in qualifying, to comeback to take eleventh in the first race and a sensational fifth in the second.
The Chicago-Soft-backed youngster warmed up by setting the 13th quickest time in free practice and was looking good early on in qualifying until he made a mistake at Turn 1 and went off into the barriers.
“It was difficult coming here. It is not an easy track to learn. You have got to have real guts in certain parts of it otherwise you are off the pace,” Declan explained. “I was getting quicker and quicker in qualifying and was probably running around P6. I was quickest through sector 1 at one point and was really fast.
“I was trying and trying to run a little bit more kerb at the first corner and then I guess I took a bit too much! It just pitched me sideways and I then slid all the way down the hill and hit the wall side on.”
However, while the Liverpudlian suffered a pulled muscle in his neck as a result and had to settle for 14th on the grid in family-run Kelvin Jones Motorsport Ginetta G40J, he set about fighting back in the first race and recovered to finish just outside the top ten.
“It was hard in that race. The car wasn't quite right because we just didn't have enough time to get everything just so. But we were determined to collect points and it was nice to make up a few places,” Declan continued.
The following day though, with his car back to full health, he pulled off a number of stunning moves in the second race, which was screened live on UK television on ITV4. He went from 14th to 10th in the first phase of the race, before the Safety Car phase halted his charge. Once racing resumed though, the 16-year-old pushed on, and over the final three laps went from 9th, to 7th and then to fifth, a position he held all the way to the 'flag.
“I just kept my head today,” Declan added, “and towards the end when they all started battling that was when I got them. I just put the car in where I thought was the right position to put it and it paid off.